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Paul Slabolepszy’s ‘Borderline’ is powerful, gut-wrenching and an emotional roller-coaster

Anthony Coleman and Paul Slabolepszy. Picture: Thandile Zwelibanzi

Anthony Coleman and Paul Slabolepszy. Picture: Thandile Zwelibanzi

Published Jun 3, 2022

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Theatre legend Paul Slabolepszy is back with a gripping new play “Borderline”, which is set to hit the stage at The Market Theatre for its world premiere on June 3.

“Borderline” is a universal story encompassing the past and the present, complex family relationships, love, secrets and the consequences of unresolved trauma that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

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Boasting dark humour and surprising twists and turns, “Borderline” takes the audience through a journey that shifts from despair to hope and healing.

The play follows the lives of a young multiracial couple, Raymond Kruger, a businessman, and his wife Faith Dlamini, a wellness and beauty shop owner.

While in the process of migrating to Canada, they must first confront demons from their past.

“Borderline” is a three hander that stars Mzansi’s finest, Anthony Coleman, Lerato Mvelase and Paul Slabolepszy.

Making her long-awaited return to the director's seat is actress, writer and director Maralin Vanrenen.

She says she’s thrilled to work alongside Slabolepszy as they bring to life this powerful, gut-wrenching and emotional roller-coaster play.

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“When I first read the script, I thought, this is a very intriguing play. It's wonderful because it plays like a thriller, but it's a human story about a family.

“And it deals with all sorts of issues that families keep locked away, keep hidden, don't want to talk about and how it damages them as the years go by,” shares Vanrenen.

She added: “And I'm very conscious and aware of mental health. I think that this is a wonderful opportunity to make people feel that they're not the only ones that are going through stuff.”

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Vanrenen says while the play explores serious issues of trauma and mental health, it is delivered in a humorous way that will keep the audiences intrigued and engaged.

“Paul's got an incredible sense of humour. So, throughout the play, there is this humorous take on the character's behaviour, which is basically you recognising something in yourself,” she says.

Elaborating on the inspiration behind the show, Vanrenen says: “The play is called ‘Borderline’ because it deals with the character in the play who has a borderline personality disorder. That usually happens to people who have traumatic childhoods.

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“So that character is played by Anthony Coleman, he's about 40 and he has just been married for 18 months. He's been married to a young black woman who runs a wellness and beauty clinic.

“And now they're coming to visit his father, who lives in the Cape and he has not seen for 23 years because of the bad blood between them.

“And his wife is saying to him, ‘You've got to find these demons, you've got to throw a light on them and you've got to make peace with your father. Otherwise, you are never going to be a settled and happy person’.”

Anthony Coleman and Paul Slabolepszy. Picture: Thandile Zwelibanzi

Vanrenen further explains that gender-based violence forms a big part of the story.

“He was an abusive father (older guy). He used to beat the mother very badly. I don't want to tell you too much about that because there’s a consequence that gets later revealed in the play.

“He’s a man who had to fight in the border war. And he's got dark secrets about that as well that he has never exposed so that it will come out in the story.

“So the most important thing I honestly believe is, especially now in our digital age, we've forgotten how to speak to each other. We have forgotten how to reach out.

“We cover things up and we just move on and we’ve become desensitised as human beings. And nobody can afford that, especially as South Africans. We cannot afford ever to become desensitised to each other as people,”she says.

"Borderline" will have its world premiere at the Market Theatre from June 3 and will run until July 3. Tickets are available at Webtickets from R90.

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